Tuesday, August 15, 2017

DOL Solicits Comments on ‘White Collar’ Salary Level

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PNN: White Collar Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a Request for Information (RFI) on July 26th in the Federal Register for the white collar exemptions to the overtime pay requirement [82 F.R. 34616, 7-26-17]. The RFI allows the public to provide information to aid the DOL in revising the regulations that define exemptions from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime requirements for certain employees.

Background
The final rule, which was to go into effect on December 1, 2016, would have increased the standard salary level from $455 to $913 a week (81 F.R. 32391, see PAYROLL CURRENTLY, Issue No. 6, Vol. 24). The rule was blocked from going into effect on November 22, 2016, by a federal district court judge. The DOL appealed the court’s ruling to the Fifth Circuit. On June 30, the DOL answered the court and requested that it reaffirm the DOL’s statutory authority to establish a salary level test, without defending the salary level set in the rule. Oral arguments in the case have been tentatively scheduled for October 2.

Why the RFI Was Published
In the RFI, the DOL stated that it “is aware of stakeholder concerns that the standard salary level set in the 2016 final rule was too high.” The DOL said that employers have expressed concern that the new salary level excludes from exemption too many workers who pass the standard duties test.

The DOL requests comments on the 2016 revisions to the white collar exemption regulations, including:

  • Whether the standard salary level set in that rule effectively identifies employees who may be exempt
  • Whether a different salary level would more appropriately identify such employees, the basis for setting a different salary level
  • Why a different salary level would be more appropriate or effective.

Public Comment
Comments will be accepted until September 24. They may be submitted electronically on the federal eRulemaking Portal. The DOL encourages electronic submissions, however written comments should be sent to:

Melissa Smith
Director of the Division of Regulations, Legislation, and Interpretation, Wage and Hour Division
U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-3502
200 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20210

Respondents do not need to reply to every question and all submissions must include the agency name (DOL) and the Regulatory Information Number (RIN 1235-AA20).

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